La Salle finishes off North Joe Brown led the Explorers over the Falcons in Catholic League quarterfinals.

Posted: February 21, 2010

La Salle's Joe Brown said he had mixed feelings about playing a key role in a Catholic League quarterfinal playoff victory that likely marked the end of North Catholic's tradition-rich basketball program.

"Coming into the game, I was really determined to win," said Brown, a junior forward. "After the game, I felt kind of bad. I'm sure it's rough on them. Still, I'm happy that we're the ones moving on."

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Brown netted 10 of his 15 points in the last 10 minutes as the Explorers ousted the Falcons, 54-43, yesterday at Archbishop Ryan. He added 11 rebounds (three on offense), four assists, and a steal in 30 minutes of action.

La Salle, the Red Division regular-season champion, will take on Archbishop Carroll, the Blue Division runner-up, in a semifinal 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Palestra. The other semifinal, at 8:30, will match Neumann-Goretti against the winner of last night's quarterfinal between St. Joseph's Prep and Roman Catholic.

The beginning of the end for North Catholic, which is set to be closed by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in June, came when the Falcons shot 4 for 32 from the field (1 for 13 from three-point land) in the first half.

"Our intensity was definitely there," Brown said. "We were fired up to play after losing to them last Sunday at their place. I think they won that game because they wanted it more."

Overall, Brown shot 6 for 8 from the field and 3 for 7 from the foul line. In the third quarter, when the Falcons mustered a 13-4 run to get within one, his layup, courtesy of a nice feed from Troy Hockaday, put the Explorers in front, 35-30.

Brown, a 17-year-old from Glenside, is the second in his family to play for La Salle. His brother, T.J., was a wing guard and part of the Class of 2007.

"I think our style of play is pretty similar, but it's also different," Joe Brown said. "He was a pretty good scorer. I think my defense is a little better than his was when he played."

Said La Salle coach Joe Dempsey: "Joe does a little bit of everything for us. He rebounds, plays defense, is a good passer. He's a tremendous kid, very coachable."

Like Brown, Hockaday, a senior swingman, knows how to fill up a stat sheet. Against North, he recorded 15 points (seven in the first quarter), nine boards (three on offense), two assists, and a rejection.

Point guard Eddie Mitchell chipped in nine points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Steve Collins, a 6-9 reserve, had eight points and three blocks.

La Salle led, 24-15, at the break. With full-court pressure, North Catholic forced 12 turnovers in the second half and was down by just two, 39-37, midway through the fourth quarter.

Boston University recruit Mike Terry (16 points) and Woody Redding (12 points, three steals) helped the Falcons keep things close until the late going.

Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien at 610-313-8019 or robrien@phillynews.com.

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